• Peter Miller

A Bell Cow Coach provides us a model from whom we can learn deeply and meaningfully about coaching. The term “bell cow” is not just a catchy reference to Wisconsin’s proud dairy heritage, but a useful metaphor for leadership.


Tradition has it that farmers have been known place a large bell around the neck of the “lead cow” in a herd. Knowing that the other cows tend to congregate around the lead cow, the herd can easily be found by the farmer, even in the biggest of fields or roughest of terrains. The farmer listens for the clang of the bell and knows that by finding the bell cow, they’ll find the whole herd.


What’s interesting to note about bell cows is that the other cows naturally follow them. They watch, learn from, and follow the bell cows. Bell cows pace the herd and model the way to go.


In a similar fashion, we can each benefit from “bell cows” in our own lives. We can observe, listen to, learn from, and, in some cases, emulate leaders we admire. Bell cow coaches.


The Wisconsin Coaching Project is identifying and honoring several Bell Cows throughout the 2021-22 academic year. These leaders change lives. They grow the good around them.